Big throws from Holy Angels senior quarterback Joseph Heimbold built a halftime lead and his big run later sealed a 34-7 victory Saturday against Mound Westonka.
Heimbold threw two second-quarter touchdown passes and ran for a fourth-quarter score as No. 8-ranked Holy Angels (8-1) won its Class 4A, Section 5 semifinal at home in Richfield.
The Stars stay home Friday for a section final showdown with Orono, which upset defending Prep Bowl champion Benilde-St. Margaret's in the other section semifinal Saturday.
Heimbold hit Peter Laird on a 52-yard catch-and-run for a 7-0 lead. On the Stars' next possession, Heimbold completed a 42-yard scoring pass to John Kosmach in the end zone.
"Those big plays gave us confidence going into the second half," Heimbold said.
Holy Angels sputtered at times on offense, losing the ball on a fumble and an interception. Mound Westonka (8-2), fresh off its first playoff victory in 30 years, couldn't take advantage. Dropped balls and a Holy Angels defense swarming ball-carriers prevented big chunks of yardage.
The White Hawks missed a 41-yard field goal to end the first half and a 31-yard try in the third quarter.
"The defense saved the offense's butt tonight," Heimbold said. "A lot of our drives came up empty, and they would come out, shut them down and get us the ball. Our defense won us the game."
The Stars offense stepped up when the defense faltered. A Brandon Hokkanen touchdown pass for 24 yards on fourth down to Thomas Elliott cut the Mound Westonka deficit to 14-7. But Heimbold restored a two-score Stars lead on a 26-yard touchdown run. The final run was one of three he had for big yardage on the drive.
"That was huge," senior linebacker Jack Aleman said. "We needed that."
Laird and Thomas Shelstad tacked on touchdown runs to widen the victory margin.